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Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan Warn Citizens Of Repercussions For Joining Russian Forces In Ukraine.

Kyrgyz soldiers march in a parade in Moscow on Red Square.

Kyrgyz soldiers march in a parade in Moscow on Red Square.

Kyrgyz and Uzbek authorities have warned citizens working as migrant laborers in Russia of serious repercussions for joining the Russian military in its ongoing war in Ukraine after Moscow announced a partial mobilization.

The Kyrgyz Embassy in Moscow issued a statement on September 21, hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree on mobilization, saying that any form of participation in military activities on the territory of foreign countries is considered mercenary activity and will be punished by up to 10 years in prison and the confiscation of all property.

"The embassy urges Kyrgyz citizens to immediately notify the diplomatic representation of the Kyrgyz Republic in the Russian Federation if they receive documents calling them to join any military operations," the statement said.

According to Kyrgyzstan's official statistics, more than 1 million Kyrgyz citizens reside in Russia as labor migrants.

Kyrgyzstan recognizes dual citizenship with countries that do not border the Central Asian state, so many Kyrgyz labor migrants in Russia also hold Russian citizenship and therefore are eligible for military mobilization.

On September 20, Russian lawmakers approved a bill on amendments to the Criminal Code that envisage lengthy prison terms for Russian citizens who refuse to join the armed forces.

Also on September 21, the Prosecutor-General's Office of another Central Asian state, Uzbekistan, issued a statement warning Uzbek labor migrants that it is illegal for them to join foreign militaries and they risk up to 10 years in prison.

Earlier this month, media reports in Ukraine said Ukrainian armed forces captured two Central Asian men in Russian military uniform during a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region who said they were Uzbek nationals who resided in Moscow before joining a private paramilitary group in Russia.

Last week, the Uzbek Embassy in Kyiv asked Ukrainian authorities to provide detailed information about the two captured Uzbeks.

Uzbekistan does not recognize dual citizenship, but many of about 1.2 million Uzbek migrants in Russia seek Russian citizenship, with some trying to obtain naturalization through serving in the armed forces.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

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